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Jan 25, 2018

How G.O.B. May Have Violated Finance and Audit Act on Appropriations

Eamon Courtenay

Is the Barrow Administration guilty of breaking the Finance and Audit Reform Act?  It’s an admission that Financial Secretary Joseph Waight reportedly made before the Senate on Wednesday, in respect of expenses related to Hurricane Earl and Belize Infrastructure Limited, BIL.  That piece of legislation was brought into existence by government back in 2010, and sets out specific guidelines where supplementary spending is concerned.  According to senators Eamon Courtenay and Valerie Woods, the law has been purposely overlooked as it relates to additional expenditures for 2016 and 2017, respectively.  They argue that government is in contravention of the act by bringing those costs for approval before the upper house almost two years after the monies have been spent.  Furthermore, a proper accounting of the almost nineteen million dollars that was extended to BIL in supplementary expenses for the period in question is yet to be provided. 

 

Eamon Courtenay, P.U.P. Senator

“We believe that what happened in the Senate yesterday was historic because not only was there pointed out that the laws were broken, but the Financial Secretary himself attended the committee and accepted that in fact there has been noncompliance with the Finance & Audit Reform Act and there has been noncompliance with the regulation made under that act for financial transparency and responsibility.  So what we wanted to do was to give Belizeans and to give the public a little bit more detail about what in fact happened so that they can understand that this is an extremely serious matter that civil society ought to become very interested and should take steps to ensure that what was revealed should be dealt with according to law.  In short, a supplementary appropriation bill came before Senate after it had been passed by the House of Representatives and the purpose of that supplementary was to approve spending for 2016/2017.  The first point we made was, ‘why so late?’  There is a procedure under the Finance & Audit Reform Act in the constitution where supplementary spending, excess spending is required, what needs to be done and this was clearly not in compliance with it.  Secondly, this, the majority of the spending first of all under Cap Two, dealt with expenditure for Hurricane Earl which was from August 2016 and they are now seeking approval in 2018.  And then of course there was a massive overspending by Belize Infrastructure Limited, BIL, which they seem to be seeking approval for now.  All of this was very unusual because of the significant delay and the lack of details and so we called for Financial Secretary to come, he came in committee and all he did was: one, confirm, as I said, the noncompliance and two, promised to provide us the details so that we could understand exactly what these overspendings were done for.”

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1 Response for “How G.O.B. May Have Violated Finance and Audit Act on Appropriations”

  1. carlos says:

    Very good . They should do this for all, even politicians who break the law and, of course, do punish those that violated the law. The laws of the country should apply to everybody and not only for those poor people in the streets. Keep it up senators.

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